Tag Archives: Lighting

Tristan Turns 9!

Seems surreal to me that my oldest son turns 9 tomorrow. When I think of it… I sorta wanna peak at my 401K and make sure I’m planning my retirement correctly 🙂 I know, I know, many of my friends have older kids, but this is me… and thinking he’s 9, just blows my mind. Ton of clichés run through my mind, “in the blink of an eye”, “time sure flies” and all that stuff, which happen to LL be true (hence they became clichés).

So to celebrate we had Tristan and about 30 of his friends and family head out to Atlantis, the aquarium in Riverhead, NY. Turned out to be a great party! Informational, and fun, and even got to bake in the sun while watching the sea lion show (it reaallly got hot out there!, but it was well worth it). I took a ton of snaps (as usual) and wanted to post a few that I liked. More to come I am sure. Been pushing myself to start exploring off-camera flash as well as outdoor hi-speed synch flash (shutter about 1/4000 of a second, bright sun, f2.8 or so… Joe McNally stuff!). So a few of these shots are exactly that, me playing around, and learning what works, and what doesn’t (sigh, always seems more of the latter than former!) so I can continue to build out my mental checklist of “how to make cool pictures…”


Russell Brown, WineMaster

Had the distinct pleasure of meeting Russell Brown during the DLWS Napa adventure. For those of you not familiar with Russell, he’s the Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems and is heavily involved in the graphic design and development arena. He is also a total blast to photograph. Russell came prepared to get into “character.” He asked a couple of us to shoot him in the vineyard we were visiting… So I broke out a flash and a Lumiquest LTP softbox (a McNally favorite) and went to TTL town.

Russell is just plan awesome to have in front of the lens. He lends drama where there is none, and very quickly transforms himself from “mad” scientist to elder winemaster with ease. For this portrait I wanted to bring out the drama in the clouds building behind him, as well as include enough of the vineyard “environment” to show where he was and paint a “story” around the image.

I call this the “Wine Spectator” cover shot. 🙂 Enjoy.

Fun with Flash II

Saw a portrait awhile ago of a baseball player done by Dustin Snipes… Always liked his work..

So I set up 3 flashes and let Tristan don his Three Village Patriots uniform.  Asked him to pretend he was pitching and shot away.

1) First flash was snooted and aimed at his cap to highlight the Patriots icon

2) Second Flash behind him with a blue gel to light the white seamless a different “punchy” color

3) Third Flash was a Honl grid aimed directly at his eyes… wanted that swath of light to capture his eyes and really highlight them. There was a bit of spill here, if he and I had the patience I would reshoot and try to remove the highlight on his cheek, so the line from the hat would meet the mitt.

Pretty quick setup, which was good… Both kids patience ran out real quick as the Lego table called… 🙂


Fun with Flash…

Took alot of pictures the last few days- with Easter, and sports, and visiting family… the camera was clicking away.

Been thinking quite a bit after seeing Hobby and McNally on the Flash Bus Tour about taking my flash work to the next level and really starting to get serious about understand the language of light as it pertains to small and big strobes. I’ve dabbled and played, and the results have been ok to pretty good… but its time to bare down (as they say) and start understanding the details…

With that in mind, my poor, unfortunate boys begin easy targets. And since baseball season is in full swing, I figured some quick portraits against my white seamless would do. Couple things I’ve wanted to try.

1) Rim lighting the face and arms using two strobes off to the left and right behind the subject

2) Grid spot on their face to highlight this area, and give it a bit more punch

3) Adding a splash of color with another flash low to the ground pointing straight up at the seamless (zoomed out to 24mm to proved a wide swath of colored light)

Again, with that all in mind I asked Aidan to pose first. A shot a series of images using TTL (McNally-esque) and wasn’t real happy with the results. Had three separate groups set up – Group A were the rim lights, Group B was the gridded flash in front, and C was the flash in back. Honestly struggled a bit with the rims… didn’t seem to give me the definition I really wanted… I think Aidan was just moving around too much, so I stopped fiddling with em’, left em where they were, and just shot away.

Ended up with a few keepers, with just a few tweaks in post… Have some of Tristan for later this week!

P.S. Love the hat bending his right ear in this one

High Key Magic- The Bees Have Arrived

So a few weeks ago my Alien Bee Busy Bee package arrived. Unfortunately the Bees sat in their boxes due to work, and general family conflicts… until Saturday (see, rainy days are GOOD!).

I’ve always liked High-Key lighting- that white, crisp background, and crystal clear subject popping off and out of the frame. I’ve been anxious to get the “studio” set up in the basement and see what I could do. Enlisting the boys as models we went to work… Over the next few days I’ll be posting the results.

First, the lighting diagram:

High Key Lighting (c) Joseph Rowland 2009

This was a 3 light set-up, 2 Alien Bee 800’s pointed at the background, and 1 AB800 with a medium Softbox at the front (slight camera right) of the subject. I used a synch cord to fire the Softbox which in turn fired the background lights. I need a cable for my Pocketwizards which I ordered yesterday- but no issues were encountered with this set-up. Worked well.

The Results:

Aidan: High Key (c) Joseph Rowland 2009